Determined to make Cross River State a safe place to live, the State government has declared 35 persons wanted for cultism.
The 35 persons are also being wanted in relation to their role in recent cult killings in Calabar that claimed the lives of four persons including that of former Chapter Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Odukpani Local Government Area and an aide to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr. Ekpenyong Akom.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Services Governor’s office, Mr. Alfred Mboto said “the spate of killings and violence taking place in the Calabar Metropolis over supremacies of various fraternities is alarming and unacceptable by government and people of Cross River State “.
In view of this, he said the state has declared the 35 persons “who have been identified as the ring leaders wanted”.
In the list published by government in a letter dated May 22 but made available to news on May 25 has 14 persons with their real names while 21 others have just their first names or nicknames On Cult activities in the state which has delegated from university to the street boys and secondary schools under different names and colouration has claimed several lives in the state.
Some persons in government who pleaded anonymity said, “if government wants to rid the state of cultism it should first of look inwards and nib it in the bud as many of the persons in government today belong to one cult group or another.
“Some of them are very powerful and they give the boys cover and finances and same boys are used during election and after election what do you expect”.
They said, “from the best of our understanding current cult clash is between Axe men and Klanx and it is the issue of rivalry, killings and reprisal killings. For instance current situation or scores in their language is 18 to 1 in favour of Axe men”.
The Cross River Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the recent killings in Canada saying, “I am aware of the tragic incident but cannot substantiate because we are investigating the matter. He (Akom) was killed by gunmen suspected to be cultists”.
On his part, the State Security Adviser to Governor Ayade, South, Mr. Ani Esin, lamented the rival cult clashes, adding that that the incident was unfortunate and Akom was former Odukpani chapter chairman “the clash was between Klanx and Axe members.
“He was shot and died on the spot. He was suspected to be a member of Klanx and was gunned down by suspected members of Axe. The cults operations are not only in Calabar but in Bakassi, Okukpani and its environ.
“When I spoke with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), he confirmed that two suspected cultists were gunned down. The incident occurred between the Klanx and Axe members. The victims are one Klanx and one Axe. The community assisted in arresting one of the suspects at the scene and handed him over to the Mbukpa Police Station”.
He advised “those who are already there should find ways to leave the cult groups. It doesn’t pay to belong to cult groups and you don’t gain anything deadly”.